“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
Now we come to the opening of the great seventh seal. This event is climactic in the book of Revelation.
“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
The seventh seal’s opening caused an ominous and eerie silence in heaven for about half an hour. The seventh seal that launches the second series of seven, the trumpet judgments, caused a hush across heaven. “What can we expect now? It must be something perilous and grim.” Great apprehension fell over everyone in contrast to the shouts of celebration in the previous chapter.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
Out of the seventh seal falls seven trumpet judgments and seven bowl judgments. The seven trumpets are not the same as the seven seals. They do not cover the same ground as the seals but proceed out of the sixth seal. Both the bowl judgments and the trumpet judgments are within the seal judgments. These judgments are one series in three movements.
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
An angel with a golden censer (shovel) stood at the altar. The Old Testament priest used censers to carry hot coals from the brazen altar from outside the tabernacle to the altar of incense inside the tabernacle. God designed everything in the tabernacle to teach His system of truth. The censor of the New Testament is the prayer of the saint.
The tabernacle and all its functions are types of Christ and His work, especially his work of intercession to the Father on our behalf (John 17:9; 1 John 2:1-2). All of our eternal legal affairs are kept in order by our Defense Attorney, Jesus Christ. We do not have to make a direct appeal to the Father; Jesus does that for us. He personally represents us and takes care of our matters very well.
“Therefore He is also always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
Prayer is like the smoke of incense ascending to God.
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
In this case, the angel first offered these coals as incense before God and then threw them on the earth. After the prayer of verse three rises into the presence of God, judgment plunges to earth. God brings judgment in answer to prayer; God sent the angel to fling fire to the earth. In this case, prayer brings judgment to the earth.
So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
Israel used trumpets to call the nation to assembly and to sound an alert for war. Trumpets were a call to impending action. This is God’s public announcement system. Something important always followed the national trumpet.
Jesus executes His unfinished work over us daily.
The function of prayer from God’s viewpoint is very interesting. Jesus, as our High Priest, intervenes on our behalf to God for us (Romans 8:34). Do you feel that the heavens are as brass and that God does not hear or answer your prayers? Jesus prays for us. He makes requests for us. He appeals to His character and work on our behalf. God answers our prayer because of Jesus, not because of our work.
Jesus’ unfinished work is His work of intercession on our behalf. Satan constantly accuses us before the Father, but Jesus personally represents us to the Father.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. ‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death'” (Revelation 12:9-11).
Jesus intercedes for us:
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
Jesus is in heaven taking care of our concerns both there and here. He processes everything that happens to us here as well. There is no coincidence. Nothing incidental comes into our lives. No fluke or accident ever happens to the Christian. No Christian operates by “luck.” God shields us every moment of our existence.